Jewish World Review July 10, 2003 / 10 Tamuz, 5763

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth | WASHINGTON The urgent memo -- addressed "To All FEMA Headquarters Personnel" -- was a first for the fledgling Department of Homeland Security. It was e-mailed at 9:19 a.m. Tuesday by Physical Security Specialist Louis Fritz.

"Subject: Hair Piece Found," the 44-year-old Fritz alerted his fellow disaster workers. "A black wig was found on the second floor early this morning. To claim your hair piece, please come to Physical Security Section/Room 528, or call extension (deleted). Thank you."

We promptly contacted Fritz and tried to convince him that the errant rug was ours.

"It has already been claimed," he told us, explaining that one of his duties is supervising the lost-and-found. "Ten minutes after I sent the e-mail, someone came to the office and very sheepishly said the hairpiece was theirs. I don't think I should tell you if it was a man or a woman. All I can say is it seemed to be a hair extension. I didn't ask them to model it. I took them at face value. I mean, why would somebody risk the embarrassment of claiming a lost hairpiece if it wasn't really theirs?"

FEMA Communications Director Chad Kolton told us the safe return of the missing hairpiece "is a tribute to FEMA's quick response capabilities and demonstrates that our employees are well cared for." And there was no need to disrupt the busy schedule of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "This situation was handled expeditiously by our own employees," Kolton said, "and it's another example of how we can work effectively within our own agency without overtaxing our new colleagues in the department."


It's probably not a good idea to invite Washington media figures Greta Van Susteren and Maureen Orth to the same dinner party.

In the latest Vanity Fair, Orth -- wife of NBC bureau chief and "Meet The Press" host Tim Russert -- accuses Fox News Channel's Van Susteren of having "dramatically lowered the ethical bar" by inviting Hustler magazine's Larry Flynt on her show, "On the Record," to discuss the Laci Peterson case. Orth's piece is about the media's allegedly craven exploitation of the tragedy.

This week, Van Susteren fired off a letter to the glossy magazine accusing Orth of incompetence, hypocrisy and all manner of other sins. "Orth 'slapped' me . . . in a magazine whose cover photo is of a deceased JFK Jr. and his wife and touts an article about marriage, infidelity and cocaine." Van Susteren said Orth has repeatedly refused invitations to appear on her show and defend the charges. Van Susteren added that Orth's husband Russert also "has used (Flynt) as a source."

Orth declined to speak to us, but Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak pointed out that Orth phoned Van Susteren's office four times to get her side, and that Van Susteren never responded. "Why is she complaining now?" Van Susteren, for her part, told us: "I'm just having a little summer fun."


-- Congratulations to our fellow American, Peter Jennings, who for decades stubbornly declined to apply for U.S. citizenship in the face of frequent criticism. The Toronto-born ABC News anchor told us he's now taken the plunge. "People who wish to knock me around have always found one reason or another, and the fact that I was a Canadian was one of them," said Jennings, who now has dual citizenship. "I always felt that it reflected more on them than on me. Growing up Canadian has remained deeply meaningful to me: It's ingrained in my soul. But America is my home. Americans have been unbelievably good to me. And it is an honor to be an American in the fullest sense." Jennings added that his new status, which he achieved May 30 after acing his citizenship test, is a result of long consideration. "Of course 9-11 had an impact on all of us. It made me feel that we were in this together, and it was a family affair."

-- Attention, Secret Service: There's a navy blue Brooks Brothers blazer, size 42 long, waiting to be claimed by the agent who apparently forgot it at the Madam's Organ nightspot on July 4th while protecting presidential daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush. The twins arrived at the club after the fireworks and hung out till closing time. Barbara graciously accepted the gift of a Madam's Organ T-shirt bearing the motto "Where the Beautiful People Go to Get Ugly."

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06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate